Holy See defrocks archbishop for sex abuse

The Washington Times

By Meredith Somers-The Washington Times Sunday, June 29, 2014

Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, former Vatican ambassador to the Dominican Republic, was defrocked last week by a church inquisition board and was stripped of his credentials as a priest. He has two months to appeal his conviction, and likely faces separate charges from Vatican City judicial authorities.

Mr. Wesolowski is the highest ranking official in the Catholic Church to face a conviction on sex abuse charges.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said the defrocking was “encouraging,” but criticized the Holy See for not pursuing criminals charges first — or letting outside authorities take the reins.

“Changing someone’s job title is secondary,” said David Clohessy, SNAP’s national director. “Keeping pedophiles away from children is crucial.”

Mr. Wesolowski, 65, is a Polish native, and was serving as a papal ambassador in the Dominican Republic when he was recalled to Vatican City in August, amid charges of sex abuse on the Caribbean island.

Authorities in the Dominican Republic opened their own investigation after he had returned to Rome. Polish authorities tried unsuccessfully to extradite Mr. Wesolowski in January, but the Holy See stopped him from being transferred on the basis that he is a Vatican citizen.

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